New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 15, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
■ New Braunfels Utilities customers can only water with hand-held hoses and buckets between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. any day of the week. Soaker hoses can only be used around foundations.Herald
Vol. 149 No. 226 16 pages in 2 sections September 15, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
Cops arrest CHS teacher on campus
cr,-,a n.™.i./oc with nnc- Brown nosted $2,500 bail and was released fro
CHRIS PACE/Herald-ZeitungA teacher was charged with possession of marijuana in a random drug search Thursday at the school.
By Ron Maloney
Comal Independent School District suspended a 49-year-old Canyon High School teacher accused of bringing drugs and weapons to the school.
Joel L. Brown, a special education teacher, was arrested after an unannounced security search of the school and property. C1SD trustees will consider his employment status when they meet Sept. 28.
Comal County Sheriffs’ sergeant Brent Paullus
said Brown was charged with possession of less than two ounces of marijuana on school property and having weapons in a prohibited place. The weapons, a loaded .22-caliber rifle and an unloaded .12-gauge shotgun, were in his vehicle, Paullus said. Under state law, no one can have weapons on a school property.
Brown posted $2,500 bail and was released from
The drug charge is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in county jail. The weapons charge is a third degree felony punishable by 2 to IO years in state prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.
Comal County Deputy District Attorney Ed Jen-drzey said Thursday night the case would be reviewedSee TEACHER/4A
Taste of New Braunfels
Hays grand jury indicts accused trooper shooter
Hays DA says he will pursue death penalty
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Zachary Riegel four found it difficult to eat his cuisine at Thursday night's Taste of the Town at Wursthalle. “ally^e food won out and Zachary finished off his plate. Hundreds stood in line in the light rain waiting to enter the benefit for the
Children’s Museum of New Braunfels.
Eateries serve it up for fund-raiser
By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
Good taste was in abundance at Wursthalle Thursday, but the tickets to get inside were not.
Taste of the Town, a fundraiser for the Children’s Museum in New Braunfels, sold out for the first time in its 12-year existence Thursday.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Julie Swift, executive director of the museum. “We have never sold out before.’
About 1,000 tickets were presold to the event and none were available at the door.
Tickets to Taste of the Town guaranteed an evening of sampling the best that 34 local restaurants have to offer.
“We were sad that we were going to disappoint anybody w ho couldn’t get tickets Thursday,” Swift said.
■ BEST OVERALL TASTE: Giovani’s Ristorante Italiano
■ BEST FIRST COURSE: Gruene Mansion Inn
■ BEST ENTREE: Giovani’s Ristorante Italiano
■ BEST DESSERT:
New Braunfels Smokehouse
■ BEST BOOTH:
Giovani’s Ristorante Italiano
A long line of people waited outside Wursthalle when the event began Thursday, umbrellas shielding them from a slow
drizzle. Parking was scarce, and the crowd was almost elbow to elbow inside.
Few complaints were heard, though, beyond the occasional grumbling about the heat.
However, San Antonio resident Rudy Rodriguez found the temperature perfect for his purposes.
Rodriguez is a seafood buyer and a former chef. He learned to make ice carvings from a chef at a Marriott hotel where he previously was an intern.
Giovani’s hired him to make ice sculptures for its booth at Taste of the Town.
He worked outside Wursthalle making a swan and a basket out of ice, sweating in spite of the cold surface he worked with.
“It does get a bit warm doing this thing even though the ice is
very cool,” Rodriguez said.
Recent rains helped lower the temperatures. It was perfect tor the ice, he explained, as he worked with a mini-chainsaw.
If the air is too cold, the ice may get too hard and shatter. If the air is too humid, the ice quickly melts, he said.
Giovani’s, a new Italian restaurant on the Main Plaza, then displayed Rodriguez’s work at its booth. Giovani’s earned rave reviews.
Sharon Harrison is a California resident who was in town visiting relatives.
“The food is great,” she said. “We loved the shrimp from Giovani’s.
“We’re planning on trying (Giovani’s) tomorrow.”
Harrison spoke as she browsed through the items available in the silent auction.
Bv Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
SAN MARCOS —Hays County District Attorney Michael Wenk will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing Trooper Randall Vetter.
On Thursday, a Hays County Grand Jury indicted Melvin Edison Hale, of Kyle, on a charge of capital murder. He is accused of shooting Vetter in the head during an Aug.
3 traffic stop near Kyle.
Hale has been in the Hays County Jail since the shoot-l-t - —it ittg and is spending
W his 73rd birthday
Ik «■ there today.
-Wenk hesitated to
HALE speak to the media
about the case Thursday. He said he did not want to prosecute the case in the media
“Eve witnessed had experiences when the serious business of justice gets taken outside the coniines ot the courtroom,” Wenk said. “ That s where this case needs to be prosecuted — inside the courtroom.”
He addressed his decision to seek the death penalty in a printed statement. “Our Legislature has determined that capital murder is the most serious criminal offense a person can commit in the state of Texas, and the Legislature has provided that a person who commits the crime of capital murder is subject to ‘the death penalty,’” his statement said.
“After having had an opportunity to review the investigative reports that have been submitted, the district attorney’s office has determined that ‘the imposition of the death penalty’ is the only appropriate punishment for this crime. Consequently, when this case goes to trial, the state will be asking the
jury to impose the death penalty.”
Wenk said Hays County has had only one other death penalty prosecution.
Trooper Vetter, 28, stopped Hale about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3 at the Yarrington Road access to Interstate 35 near Kyle. Hale apparently was not wearing a seat belt.
Reports from that day said the two exchanged fire. Hale allegedly was armed with a semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14, which was described at the time as a “high-powered rifle.”
Vetter was shot in the head. Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Hale then used the trooper’s radio to call authorities.
Vetter had a wife and an 8-month old son. He had been w ith the DPS for six years and had recently transferred from the New Braunfels DPS office to the San Marcos DPS office.
Vetter did not die immediately after the shooting. He was taken to Austin’s Brackenndge Hospital, where he died several days later.
Hale apparently believed a warrant had been issued for his arrest over the same violation at the same location about a year ago. He also told investigators that he believed it was his “C on-stitutional right not to wear a seat belt, a report about the incident said.
Also, Hale was reported to be upset over a tax dispute concerning his 125-acre ranch. Hale previously deeded the property to a friend, Ed Bullock, in an arrangement that allowed Hale to continue living on the property.
Vetter’s wife, Cynthia Vetter, filed a civil lawsuit against Hale the day of Vetter’s funeral. She is seeking $5 million in punitive and compensatory damages,
Hale’s alleged actions caused Vetter “excruciating pain,” the lawsuit states.
“Further, Randall Wade Vetter lingered from August 3, 2000, until August, 7, 2000, being conscious and See HALE/4A
NBISD election pending
By Jennifer Rodriguez Staff Writer
andidates for three New Braunfels ependent School District trustee ts must file for the election in less ti 12 days, and so far nothing has ii submitted.
)n Thursday district I trustee via Sanchez said she would not i for a third term, and at-large stees Dr. Don Bedford and vice sident Bette Spain have not decid-yet.
andidates have until Monday Sept. at 5 p.m. to submit their papers. cause board candidates are shar
ing space with presidential nominees this year, voter turnout should be high.
“It’s going to be interesting,” NBISD information officer Stephanie Ferguson said.
Although the filing deadline is less than two weeks away and no applications have been filed for the positions, Ferguson said the situation is not unusual.
“They’re taking it down to the wire,” Ferguson said. “It seems like candidates will file on the first day they can, or wait until the bitter end.”
Spain called her two terms “a learning experience.”Inside
Key Code 76
Commissioners set tax rate
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Comal County commissioners set the tax rate for 2001 at 32.4 cents Thursday — the same as this year.
The tax rate did not have to be raised, said County Judge Danny Scheel, because a 12.9 percent increase in the assessed value of the county more than oil set the 8 percent increase in the county budget this year.
The $19 million budget for 2001 — up from this year’s $17.5 million— will see increases most
ly in the Sheriff’s office, court systems and public safety areas to offset costs of county grow th.
The new budget will put five new deputies on duty, pay tor computer upgrades and other administrative costs, but will be largely unchanged in other areas.
Also included will be 3 percent pay raises for all county employees — with the possibility ol an additional 4 percent merit raise — and IO percent raises for county commissioners.
The new budget passed in August on a 4-1 vote, with Pct. 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin cast
ing the lone “nay.”
It was likewise for the tax rate set Thursday.
“I didn’t support the budget because I thought the commissioners could have worked harder to reduce the budget and the tax rate with a tougher stance on the budget,” Minikin said.
Also problematic for Minikin was the IO percent pay raise for commissioners, which was opposed by both him and Pct. I Commissioner Jack Daw son when it was adopted on a split vote.
“I couldn’t support the IO per-See TAX RATE/4A
B AH YOH HI